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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Turkey Oak

Turkey Oak

(Quercus laevis Walt.)

  Turkey oak commonly occurs in the understory of longleaf pine forests, on infertile, sandy soils. Because of its small size, poor form and rugged appearance on these sites, it frequently is considered a "weed" tree.

The leaves are 5 to 10 inches long and 4 to 6 inches wide, usually with five long, narrow, often curved, bristle -toothed and bristle-pointed lobes. The upper surface is a shiny yellowish-green, while the undersurface is paler and smooth except for tufts of red hairs in the axis of the veins.

The acorns are about an inch long, ovoid, brown and wooly at the top, with bowl-shaped, scaled cups enclosing about one-third of the nut. The dark gray or blackish bark is irregularly fissured and scaly.

The turkey oak is a small tree, usually not more than 20 to 30 feet in height and I to 2 feet in diameter. The crown is irregular and rather open. The tree has little commercial value. The wood is used locally for fuel and rough construction.

Turkey oak is easily "top-killed" by forest fire, but it sprouts vigorously from its roots. The number of turkey oaks in the Sandhills of North Carolina has gradually increased with an increase in fire control.
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